Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The American Patriot's Almanac by William J. Bennett and John T. E. Cribb

The seasoned historian and the newcomer to American history are bound to find this book both interesting and useful. The American Patriot's Almanac has a unique layout. Each day of the year, except February 29, is chronicled by a historical event. These entries are brief, seldom more than a few paragraphs. Then a timeline with 4-7 bullet points follows with just a sentence on more events that occurred on the same day. The format reminds me of a “history lesson a day” calendar, only more thorough and interesting.

The author reveals details uncommon to popular knowledge like the words President Lincoln spoke before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, the connection between Candlemas Day and Groundhog Day, or the original honor of the Purple Heart medal. In addition, each month is separated with more lengthy historical information that is not tied to a specific date, such as flag etiquette, poems, the lyrics to patriotic songs, and the Constitution of the United States.

The writing is clear and to the point. The historical topics are more than just battles and presidents. Indeed music, population censuses, and inventions are included. Females and minorities are not left out of America’s history in this book either. Occasionally, an entry includes a sketch or picture.


No comments: